Curriculum Guide · Courses
Racial Discrimination in International Law
Professor Carlos Vazquez
J.D. Practicum 1111 | 3 credit hours
This practicum will focus on the work of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), of which Professor Vázquez is a member. The Committee monitors compliance with the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin. Students in the practicum will investigate the situation of the minority groups protected by the Convention in the specific countries being scrutinized by CERD in its forthcoming session. Each student will focus on one country, although sometimes students will work in teams. Students will examine the report submitted to the CERD by the relevant country, as well as “shadow reports” submitted by non-governmental organizations and the relevant reports of the U.N. Human Rights Council and other relevant human rights treaty bodies. In addition, students will identify and interview persons with expertise in the countries being scrutinized. The persons to be interviewed would include academics, government officials (such as persons from the U.S. State Department’s Human Rights Bureau), and, most importantly, non-governmental organizations that specialize in human rights, particularly those that focus on the country being scrutinized. On the basis of their documentary research and interviews, the students will then write their own "shadow report" concerning the situation of the minority groups within the relevant country. Each student will, in addition, "present" his or her work to the class through a simulation of his or her country’s presentation of its report to CERD. The student(s) who wrote the shadow report on that country will play the role of that country’s delegation to CERD, presenting its report to the Committee. The other students in the practicum will play the role of Committee Members, questioning the members of the delegation on their compliance with the Convention. For this purpose, all of the students will read the shadow reports written by each of their classmates. The students who wrote the shadow report will, in turn, be expected to approach the relevant issues from a different perspective, as they defend the country’s practices rather than criticizing them.
Prerequisites: Students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective). Highly recommended: International Law I; International Human Rights; Constitutional Law II.
Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum course and a clinic (except Street Law) or another practicum course. Students may concurrently enroll in this practicum course and an externship.
THIS IS A PRACTICUM COURSE.